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Jakarta Post

Puskesmas step up to aid overburdened health system

  • Ardila Syakriah, Asip Hasani and Arya Dipa

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta/Tulungagung/Bandung   /   Tue, April 14 2020   /  12:30 am

Soon after taking office in October 2019, Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto highlighted the urgency for community health centers (Puskesmas) to focus on preventing diseases and promoting health to help reduce the burden on the country’s deficit-stricken national health insurance (JKN) program.

Only a few months later, Puskesmas across the country are doing both while conducting public health monitoring and providing treatment for a different reason: the COVID-19 outbreak.

Puskesmas staff are now expected to educate people on the disease, trace contacts, monitor suspected cases and administer rapid tests, all while treating COVID-19 patients without sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE), risking greater exposure to the invisible threat.

“At first, we had to use thick [rain jackets and pants]. We had to maintain our distance, avoiding physical contact ...